So why am I still blogging? It's the comments.
I have an entire shelf at home devoted to books of letters and diaries by other people. Anne Frank, Henry James, Strauss and Hofmannsthal, George Bernard Shaw and Ellen Terry. I love reading words written long ago by folks who for the most part probably never intended that those words would not only survive, but go into print between hard covers.
And I know that every time I picked up a pen or sat down at a keyboard, I envisioned some poor schmuck cuddled up 100 years later reading (or more likely falling asleep over) The Collected Letters of Franklin.
Then I would feel miffed, thinking that 100 years was an awful long time to wait for a giggle if I'd written something funny. Not that I would even be around to hear it.
So, I love it when folks comment. I write, you read, you say something, and I get lovely tingles up my spine every single time. And not just when they say the cartoon is funny or the urban snails are awful or we wouldn't ask you to leave the knitting group because you've got hair on your chest. I also find it stimulating to get a brickbat instead of a bouquet.
For example, yesterday's entry included the following passage:
As you would imagine with that many knitters, there was a bit of everything. Knitting, crochet, and one lady with a round plastic object she bought at Wal-Mart that somehow makes hats. De gustibus non disputandum.For those of you less pretentious than I, the Latin tag means "There's no accounting for taste." Several readers took that to be a slam against the circular peg loom. This was not the intent, though on re-reading the sentences I can understand that interpretation. What I should have used, perhaps, was the equally pretentious but more accurate French cousin "Chacun à son gout," or "To each his own."
I'm at least not pretentious enough to say that's my motto, but if I had to pick one it would be a contender. I don't judge what other people use to play with their yarn. Hierarchies in art or craft are, in my opinion, absurd. The point, to me, is that you should enjoy yourself and achieve your goal, whatever it may be. It's your own affair.
Knitters who look down on, for example, those who crochet tend to forget that in the larger world, many of those who paint, sculpt, or make photographs look at knitters as, at best, hobbyists whose rote busywork results in cute hats.
The lady in question had made a quite lovely hat with the plastic ring, she was radiant with excitement about it, and she was generous in sharing her pleasure with the rest of us. That sort of interaction is the reason one goes to a knitting meet-up instead of staying home.
But this entry isn't intended to be a defense of nor an apology for those sentences. They are what they are.
Instead, the comments on them made me consider the more interesting question of tools and fiber, and what their role is in determining the worth or quality of the finished work–not to mention the perceived quality of the maker.
Now, I don't have an answer to this one, because there's no answer. Instead, since there's (glory hallelujah) enough of you out there reading this to engage in a discussion, I'm opening one up.
Here's your proposition.
You have before you two knitted objects (both imaginary).
One is an Aran sweater, knitted skillfully out of gray Red Heart yarn. The handsome design is original, by an obscure knitter from a small town who has no blog, has never published, is in other words entirely unknown.
The other is a six-foot scarf, in a simple knit-purl pattern, made from 100% top-of-the-line cashmere, handspun and hand-dyed. It was created and knitted by a Legendary Designer, a pillar of knitting.
Here's the question.
What are the relative worths of these objects? And why?
Let me say it again: THERE'S NO ANSWER TO THIS. The joy is in the discussing.
And here's the one rule.
Respect one another's opinions. No cheap shots. No personal attacks. Violators will be shown the door, but if you're reading this blog you're probably quite well-mannered anyhow.